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Abbott’s drought relief: back to the age of entitlement for farmers

The government’s assistance package for farmers today ignores the consistent advice of independent reviews of drought relief that say we should encourage self-reliance, not give handouts.

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Essential: Labor (finally) into the lead — and we don’t care about Schapelle

Labor has moved into the lead for the first time in three years in this week’s Essential Report. It may be because voters are increasingly worried about losing their jobs.

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It’s the water market, Darling: what’s behind the MDB sell-off

The government wants to sell its environmental water in the Murray-Darling Basin to cotton farmers. Is this dodgy, or is it market economics to make Adam Smith proud?

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Barnaby Joyce and the infuriating success of Australian agriculture

The opposition of Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals to the sale of Graincorp reflects a deep-seated frustration at the success of Australian agriculture.

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Here’s the full story on workplace deaths under Labor

As the pink batts program hits the front pages again, there’s plenty of finger-pointing at Labor over workplace deaths. Look at the full picture, however, and it’s a very different story.

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Seeds of Life or destruction of culture? Hungry East Timor debates

The AusAID-funded program Seeds of Life is creating debate in East Timor, where some locals fear the modern systems of farming taking over the traditional organic methods.

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A northern food bowl? Katter’s heard that one before

A new National Food Plan — backing the case to farm more of Australia’s north — is something Barnaby Joyce and Bob Katter have long called for. Emil Jeyaratnam speaks to them in Canberra.

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The inconvenient facts on food security

A report on the level of foreign ownership in our food industry produced some inconvenient facts for food security hysterics.

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Keane’s guide to the year in political garbage

Will 2012 see an improvement in the quality of public debate? Don’t count on it.

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GM canola — is anyone buying it?

Grain traders and the WA government are refusing to divulge how much of the genetically modified (GM) canola grown in WA last year has been sold, amid reports that sales have been sluggish, writes Lisa Roth of 3rd Degree.

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Who’s who in $4.4 trillion foreign farmland spending spree

As controversy bubbles over the latest big local farmland buy-up and what it means for food production, it’s worth looking to see where these foreign raiders are coming from, who’s backing them and how other countries are tightening regulations to stop them.

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Foreign ownership of Aussie land: the peril of selling the farm

Foreign government-backed companies have begun buying up farmland around the world, with Australia’s vast tracts of top quality primary production land a prime target.

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Live export industry’s hypocrisy on animal activists

A 2009 report shows that the cattle industry regarded animal welfare as a marketing problem, that needed more funding for ads.

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Queensland: the carbon kings

New greenhouse data shows that even with the GFC and some one-off factors holding down emissions, Australia will miss its 5% carbon reduction target by 2020.

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National food plan — will taxpayers be left with the bill for another ‘strategic industry’?

We’ve heard this all before. “Strategic industries” and “industry plans” are invariably code for taxpayer support.

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The Guardian | ENVIRONMENT|

Mini cows: the new climate change superheroes

10 mini cows produce the same amount of methane as an ordinary full-sized cow. They even taste better than bigger cows. Plus cows that are shorter than 92cm are known as ‘teacup cattle’. What more do you need to know?

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The Independent | ENVIRONMENT|

Curry spices key ingredient in climate change recipe

Scientists in Britain have found that spices such as turmeric and coriander may help to reduce the amount of methane gases released by cows and sheep by up to 40 per cent. Curry anyone?

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Slate | ENVIRONMENT|

Genetically Modified food: a force for good or evil?

Genetically modified crops are a tricky topic. They have the potential to solve world food shortage issues, yet they also could create massive super weeds and potential health problems. Should we be worried?

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Reality bites the “grand visions” of Northern Development – again

The idea of developing a bounteous “food bowl” that could ensure Australia’s food security long into the future has been a recurring political dream. But like most dreams, they usually get mugged by the grim realities of science and economics.

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AP | COMPANIES|

How Monsanto controls and manipulates the world’s food supply

An investigation by the Associated Press reveals how agricultural giant Monsanto uses its stranglehold on the seed industry to push out smaller competitors and control the world’s food supply. Expect food to get even more expensive.

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Mother Jones | ENVIRONMENT|

California’s water wars rage on

California lawmakers have approved several bills that could significantly change the state’s troubled water system, fueling hopes that a generation of feuds over the state’s most vital and overexploited natural resource might soon be over.

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GM corn still approved here despite Europe, Kiwi concerns

A genetically modified variety of corn remains approved for use in Australia, despite the withdrawal of applications for approval in Europe and serious concerns about its assessment raised by a New Zealand university research team.

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The CPRS: what the Liberals want

So Malcolm Turnbull has convinced the Coalition to push amendments on the Government’s CPRS. But what is it that the Liberals want?

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Not Without Salt | ENVIRONMENT|

Magic mushrooms: the secret hunt of food junkies

Take a journey into the secret world of the mushroom lovers sub-culture, where they’re not gatherers, but hunters, and get a whole new appreciation for the humble funghi.

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Queensland farmers rise up to take on the miners

Queensland’s Surat Basin has the third largest energy resource in the world but farm groups are warning that mining areas risk catastrophic environmental damage to food-producing areas, reports Amanda Gearing.

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